Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Government Sides With Unions Over Businesses — Again

If you don't show up for work and are permanently replaced can your employer get in trouble? According to the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the answer is yes.

In a case currently pending before the NLRB, General Counsel Richard F. Griffin Jr. is asking for yet another round of restrictions on how employers do business. Not content to be simply meddling with employer handbooks, how they control their email systems, and trying to turn every employer in the land into joint employers, he is now trying to make it impossible for employers to hire permanent replacement employees when employees go on strike.

There is a common sense rule that an employer may replace employees who refuse to show up to work. This has some limitations, but generally permanent replacement employees may be hired to do the work of those who go on strike.

In the case at issue here, the administrative law judge found that because the employer did not tell the union that permanent replacement employees would be hired until after all the positions of the strikers had been filled, the employer acted with an illicit motive, an "independent unlawful purpose." That the union would not realize this is unimaginable.

The judge also pointed to a "Non-Union Philosophy" that the employer had in its handbook, which simply states that the employer will use legal methods "to prevent any outside, third party, who is potentially adversarial, such as a union from intervening or interrupting the one-on-one communications or operational freedoms that we currently enjoy with our associates." An employer's desire to be union-free is something that is well within their rights, but this was apparently interpreted by the judge as evidence of an illegal purpose.

After the striking employers were replaced, the employees all got together and decided that they no longer wanted to be represented by a union. After notifying the employer of this, the employer withdrew recognition of the union as the representative of the employees. It likely did this because it would generally be unlawful for an employer to bargain with a union unless that union is in fact the representative of the employees.

As argued for by Griffin, the judge found that the employer violated the law in both hiring permanent replacement employees and then listening to the employees when they decided that they didn't want a union.

The general counsel's flippant disregard of the need for employers to be able to maintain operations, and for that for employees who express a desire for anything other than forced collective bargaining is on full display here.

Griffin has asked the Board to overrule existing precedent and to hold that the hiring of permanent replacement employees is inherently destructive of the right to strike. He also desires a requirement that an employer must furnish a "substantial business justification that outweighs the harm to employee rights."

The notion here is founded upon a belief that permanently replacement being "inherently destructive," "bears 'its own indicia' of unlawful intent." What the General Counsel is saying is that the employer is presumed guilty of violating the law and that the burden is first upon them to prove otherwise. This would make the hiring of replacement employees next to impossible to legally accomplish.

The matter has been briefed and we are now awaiting a decision from the Board. Given the Board's current composition, a decision that favors the union is likely. As the Board currently has two of its five member positions open, the nominees to the Board from the next president will either shift the Board back to the center, or further cement the current rampage against anything that looks favorable to employers. Let us hope that it is the former.



Crooked Hillary

Months before WikiLeaks began the drip of emails currently being published from email accounts of various members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff and Leftmedia enablers, a Rasmussen poll revealed most think the former secretary of state should be indicted criminally by the FBI. Back in July this year, when Director James Comey demonstrated he’s a “dirty cop” by abandoning all protocol in handling the Clinton bathroom closet server and the handling of classified government material, it was clearer than ever that powerful people like Clinton receive preferential treatment when they break the law.

So for those who still believe in justice and law enforcement, not just the arbitrary application of the law under this banana republic administration, we provide a roundup of the latest Hillary evidence. Not only have the Obama Justice Department and FBI been politicized to protect certain anointed folks on the Left, but the existence of true journalism is now extinct with nothing more than a complicit, sold-out gaggle of communications mouth-pieces running behind their masters. Thus, it’s likely some of this information from the 17,000 leaked communications is truly “news” to you.

First, Clinton not only took money from foreign interests that harbor terrorists and are often at cross-purposes with our nation, but Hillary’s campaign mobilized lobbyists as money bundlers who also work for Colombia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Libya, just to mention a few governments. Hillary’s team debated ending this practice and pursuing ethics in fundraising, but wondered “how much money we’re throwing away.” Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, won out, saying, “I’m ok just taking the money and dealing with any attacks.”

Yeah, never let any worry about the appearance or the actual acts of illegality slow the flow of campaign cash. Hillary’s an equal opportunity broker to sell out America and our own interests.

Over the weekend, Mook was dismissive: “There’s never been any evidence of any pay-to-play [at the Clinton Foundation] at all.” Destroying evidence is not the same as there not being any.

Second, the team whose slogan is “I’m With Her” certainly learned quickly from their master. In May 2016 emails, a fake job posting for the Trump organization told interested applicants of the job requirements: no weight gain, open “public humiliation” if one does gain weight, a proficiency in lying about age and the willingness to evaluate co-workers' “hotness” for the “boss’s gratification.” The ad concludes with the warning that the boss, obviously Trump, “may greet you with a kiss on the lips or grope you under the meeting table.”

Remember, the fake job posting was referenced in emails five months before any of those allegations were made. Interesting choice of words, in light of the sudden parade of Trump accusers using much of the exact same disgusting language.

Other emails disclosed not only the advanced sharing of at least one question in a town hall meeting during this debate cycle by CNN-contracted pundit Donna Brazile directly to Hillary, but communications openly brag about the collusion with what we call the presstitutes. An email dating back to the original Hillary for President campaign in 2007 from director Tom Mattzie to John Podesta reveals the Clinton cult was planting questions among these parrots of the media “testing expected attacks by Republicans” to gauge public opinion.

Of several other areas of revelation, two remain that should continue to cause any voter to abandon this stranger to the truth, Hillary Clinton.

On quite a few issues, Hillary is simply dishonest, at best. Emails leaked have included just a few nuggets showing that:

Madame Secretary believes Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding the Islamic State. That didn’t stop her accepting contributions.
Both Bill and Hill were “supporters” of the Defense of Marriage Act until it became for more politically beneficial to change course.

There’s an acknowledgement even among liberal economists that a $15/hour minimum wage “would result in job loss,” but Hillary supports it anyway because she needs Bernie Sanders' voters.
Hillary’s previous opposition to legalization of marijuana needs “a scrub” to match her much-needed audience of Millennials.

One final theme of WikiLeaks emails involves Barack Obama. Recently, the documents show that not only is Hillary a liar but so is Obama. Despite the outgoing president’s ridiculous declaration that he learned of Hillary’s private server and email only through news reports, he had been regularly in exchange with Hillary in her official capacity as secretary of state on her homebrew server. The U.S. president participated in misconduct with Hillary Clinton, period, and then he lied about it.

Back in 2008, the Clinton campaign organized meetings and lawyers due to the belief that “the Obama forces flooded the caucuses with ineligible voters.” Yes, these are the same despicable politicians hyperventilating at the possibility the Trump campaign might challenge their traditions of voter fraud regularly employed by Democrats.

But the emails involving Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race show exactly where much of the “oppositional research” originated that this president and the Democrats want to blame on the Republicans. Here’s a quick sampling:

Obama would personally negotiate with leaders of terrorist nations like Iran and North Korea without preconditions
Obama’s father was a Muslim and Obama grew up among Muslims in the world’s most populous Islamic country

Obama supports giving drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants
Obama described his former use of cocaine as using “a little blow.”

There’s surely more — it is the Clintons, after all. But no matter what comes out about her security lapses or corruption, Hillary Clinton is always going to first blame the Russians and then lie about everything.



Creepy clown gets some well-deserved treatment

A clown has been run over by a group of teenagers after the creepy masked prankster knocked one of them to the ground with a wooden plank.

In a shocking video uploaded to Facebook on Friday the Australian teenager is seen confronting the clown, who whacks him over the head with a wooden object.

In a panic one of the victim's friends drives their car straight into the clown.

The teenagers had been driving around for hours looking for clowns, when at midnight they heard word of one lurking near an old factory.

They spot the clown brandishing a wooden plank, and one of the teenagers decides to get out of the car to talk to them.

'Oh s*** hes got a stick,' one of the boys says. 'What's he gonna do?' says the teenager as he walks closer to the clown.

The clown then lifts the stick and hits the boy across the face.

He falls to the ground and in a crazed panic the victim's friend drives into the clown.

The video ends as the teens walk up to the clown, who they find lying in a pool of blood.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why I Now Feel Compelled To Vote For Trump

Derek Hunter

Last time a Clinton was on the ballot, I voted for Ross Perot. My vote didn’t deny Bob Dole the White House, but I confess I felt a smug sense of satisfaction in “refusing to settle.” I sure showed them, didn’t I?

I haven’t been as vocal as other “Never Trump” writers, but neither have I hidden my dislike or tempered my criticism. In a field of 17 Republican candidates, Donald Trump wouldn’t have been my 18th choice. I’m still not a fan. But they didn’t just ask me; they asked everyone. And more of everyone chose Donald Trump.

I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. For countless reasons I’ve covered over the last year, I dug in my heels and proudly basked in my self-satisfaction. I still defended Trump in this column and on social mediawhen he was wrongly attacked by the left and the media, but I was steadfast in my opposition to the man.

So what changed?

Not Trump. He still gives rambling speeches with little focus and spends far too much time defending himself against insignificant slights when he should be focusing on policy (though his ethics reform proposal is excellent and will irritate all the people in Washington who need to be irritated).

Hillary hasn’t changed either. At least not in who she is – a corrupt, self-serving liar willing to do or say anything to win and/or sell out to the highest bidder. There isn’t enough Saudi Arabian money in the Clinton Foundation to get me to vote for someone who got rich off “public service” and a “commitment to helping the poor.”

No, what’s changed is me. Not through introspection and reflection, but through watching the sickening display of activism perpetrated by a covert army with press credentials.

Bias has always been a factor in journalism. It’s nearly impossible to remove. Humans have their thoughts, and keeping them out of your work is difficult. But 2016 saw the remaining veneer of credibility, thin as it was, stripped away and set on fire.

More than anything, I can’t sit idly by and allow these perpetrators of fraud to celebrate and leak tears of joy like they did when they helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. I have to know I weighed in not only in writing but in the voting booth.

The media needs to be destroyed. And although voting for Trump won’t do it, it’s something. Essentially, I am voting for Trump because of the people who don’t want me to, and I believe I must register my disgust with Hillary Clinton.

I am not of the mindset that any vote not for Trump is a vote for Hillary, but a vote for Trump is a vote against Hillary. And I need to vote against Hillary. I need to vote against the media.

After the last debate, when no outlet “fact checked” Hillary’s lie that her opposition to the Heller decision had anything to do with children, or her lie that the State Department didn’t lose $6 billion under her leadership, I couldn’t hold out any longer.

A Trump administration at least will include people I trust in positions that matter. I don’t know if they will be able to hold him completely in check, but I know a Clinton administration will include people who have been her co-conspirators in corruption, and there won’t even be a media to hold her accountable.

The Wikileaks emails have exposed an arrogant cabal of misery profiteers who hold everyone, even their fellow travelers deemed not pure enough, in contempt. These bigots who’ve made their fortune from government service should be kept as far away from the levers of power as the car keys should be kept from anyone named Kennedy on a Friday night. My one vote against it will not be enough, but it’s all I can do and I have to do all I can do.

I won’t stop being critical of Trump when he deserves it; I won’t pretend someone is handing out flowers when they’re shoveling BS. But I’d rather have BS shoveled out of a president than our tax dollars shoveled to a president’s friends and political allies.

The Project Vertias videos exposed a corrupt political machine journalists would have been proud to expose in the past. The Wikileaks emails pulled back the curtain on why that didn’t happen – journalists are in on it. I can’t pretend otherwise, and I have no choice but to oppose it.

This isn’t a call to arms for “Never Trumpers” to follow suit; this is a choice I had to make for myself after much reflection. I wouldn’t presume to tell others how to act any more than I would accept the same from someone else. I would encourage them to consider what awaits the country should Hillary win. If they can’t vote against her by voting for him, at least spend these last two weeks of the election directing their ire toward Clinton.

Although most are principled, far too many “Never Trump” conservatives spend more of their time attacking him than pointing out her corruption. I get it – in him, you see the fight you’ve been a part of being betrayed, and that leaves a mark.

I’m not saying you should support him, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of opposing her. If, or when, Hillary Clinton takes the oath of office, she needs to have as little support as possible. Frankly, she needs to be damaged. The mainstream media won’t do it; they’re in on it.

This is my choice, what I must do. Each person has to come to this decision on their own terms. And the fact remains there simply aren’t enough “Never Trump” Republicans to make up Trump’s current deficit, and that’s on him. But I know what I’ve been wrestling with these past few weeks is not unique to me. And I don’t know about you, but I simply cannot sit around knowing there was something else I could have done to oppose Hillary Clinton and I didn’t do it.

A simple protest vote for a third party or a write-in of my favorite comic book character might feel good for a moment. It might even give me a sense of moral superiority that lasts until her first executive order damaging something I hold dear – or her first Supreme Court nominee. But the sting that will follow will far outlive that temporary satisfaction.

I oppose much of what Donald Trump has said, but I oppose everything Hillary Clinton has done and wants to do. And what someone says, no matter how objectionable, is less important than what someone does, especially when it’s so objectionable. A personal moral victory won’t suffice when the stakes are so high. As such, I am compelled to vote against Hillary by voting for the only candidate with any chance whatsoever of beating her – Donald Trump.



Have we misjudged Canada?

Below are some Leftist complaints that sound more like praise to conservatives

What comes to mind about Canada? A progressive wonderland of polite manners and majestic moose? What America might be if it evolved a little? That place you’ll move to if Trump wins?

If that’s what you think, that’s fine by us. In fact, it’s our brand: not America. The nice guys. Dull, kind and harmless. That’s how we like to be thought of.

But it’s mooseshit. We are not the country you think we are. We never have been.

These days, Canada is the second-largest arms exporter to the Middle East. Our Alberta oil sands produce more carbon emissions each year than the entire state of California. Our intelligence agency is allowed to act on information obtained through torture. And a lot of French Canadians are into blackface comedy.

Little of this is widely known, because we happen to share a border with America. When your next-door neighbour is a billionaire celebrity genius with automatic weapons and an undying need for attention, you can get away with all sorts of stuff. It’s nice to be thought of as the world’s nice guys. And it’s useful – it obscures a lot of dirt.

Last year, Canadians almost came to terms with the lie in our branding. After a decade of the rightwing Harper government, with its pro-oil, anti-science and anti-Muslim ideas, it had become difficult to maintain our sense of smug superiority. Add to that the global coverage of crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford (since deceased), and the maple leaf flag patch sewn to our metaphorical backpack was coming loose at the seams.

In this disillusionment, there was opportunity. If we wanted to reclaim our reputation as a just and caring and helpful society, perhaps we could try behaving like one. During our 2015 election, everything from electoral and environmental reform to international peacekeeping was put back on the table, and we dared to open our eyes (just a peek) to the neglected, remote indigenous communities where suicide rates are shockingly high and access to untainted drinking water is shamefully low. There was a sense that Canada was ready to grow up and forge a national identity based on what we do, not on who we aren’t.

Instead, we elected Justin Trudeau, a social media savant who has positioned himself, and by extension Canada, as a sunny chaser to the world’s bitter news. Trudeau is the political equivalent of a YouTube puppy video. After your daily barrage of Trump and terror, you can settle your jangled nerves with his comforting memes.

Each week, Trudeau feeds the news cycle a new sharable moment, and our Facebook feeds are overwhelmed with shots of the adorable young statesman cuddling pandas and hugging refugees and getting accidentally photographed in the wild with his top off, twice.

For international audiences, the Justin moment has been a harmless diversion. For Canadians, it’s a dangerous distraction. Canadians care far more about what Americans think of us than we do about Canadian politics. Little wonder that things remain so grim.

Despite Trudeau’s progressive branding, Canada is right where Stephen Harper left us. It’s been a year since the election, and we’re still selling arms to Saudi Arabia, still cutting $36bn from healthcare and still basing our economy on fossil fuel extraction, and running roughshod over indigenous rights to do so.

Too much maple syrup will make anyone sick, and I thought Trudeau’s honeymoon was finally over when, sensing a hot meme, he knelt down to offer a three-year-old Prince George a high-five. But the royal toddler left our common prime minister hanging – and to me it seemed the spell was broken. But it wasn’t. A few weeks later, right as he was backtracking on a campaign promise for electoral reform, Trudeau’s approval rating hit 64%.

Canada’s moment would likely have lapsed by now if not for the American election. The comparison of Trump v Trudeau is just too rich for the press to resist. Canada has a dashing Disney prince for a ruler, and the US is considering this guy? The Washington Post dubbed Trudeau “the anti-Trump”. Every idle threat to move to Canada if Trump wins has been treated as a major news event by the Canadian press.

(A note to my fellow Canadians on that: when an American says that they’ll move to Canada if Trump wins, it’s like when the head cheerleader tells the arrogant quarterback that he’s so conceited, she’d sooner date Urkel. Urkel may swoon to hear his name coming from a pretty girl’s lips. But it’s not really a compliment, and she’s never really going to date him.)

Last week an opportunistic Canadian ad firm sent America a shit-eating YouTube sympathy card, in which a handful of pasty Canadians assured their beleaguered neighbors that despite you-know-who, we still think America’s great! The passive aggressive subtext is of course that we also think we’re a little bit better.

But we’re not. And for that, I’m sorry.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about British and European problems


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, October 24, 2016

A Frightening Preview of Hillary's America: Dark and unaccountable

Hillary Clinton, of all people, summed up this debate and this election best:  "What kind of country are we going to be?"

The Evita of Arkansas is a compulsive liar who has never told the truth in her life. But this time around she was right. This election does not come down to the personalities. It comes down to the kind of country we are going to have. And in the third debate, the one that took a break from the petty haranguing of media lackeys like Lester Holt and Martha Raddatz, the issues took center stage.

The core issue came into focus with the very first question asked by Chris Wallace. Wallace asked Hillary and Trump if their vision for the Supreme Court was based on the Constitution or not. Hillary launched into a spiel about a Supreme Court that would stand for class warfare and gay rights. The only time she mentioned the Constitution was when she insisted that the Senate was constitutionally obligated to confirm Obama's nominee. That is her vision of the Constitution; a document that grants her power to reshape the country without regard to the Founders or any previously existing rights or freedoms.

It fell to Trump to speak of justices who would "interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted". And that is the core issue. Personalities and politicians come and go. Today's trending topic has been forgotten a day later. Outrages explode like fireworks and then fizzle out.

The weapons of mass distraction have been deployed and detonated. They keep going off in blasts of media gunpowder to divert our attention from whether we will live under the Constitution or under the Hillary. Will we have the rights and freedom bound into the Constitution or corruption justified with cant about the need to defend the oppressed by giving unlimited power to the oppressors.

The final debate finally focused on the issues. Instead of leading with the scandals, it asked about gun control, amnesty and open borders. It asked what kind of country are we going to be?

And, are we going to be a country at all or an open border weeping undocumented migrants destroying what's left of the middle class as the masterminds rob the country blind while preaching piously to us about all the poor Syrians, Mexicans and LGBT youth they want to protect?

Americans have had a preview of the country that Hillary Clinton would create under Obama. They received yet another preview of it at a final debate in which Hillary echoed Obama's Orwellian language in which endless spending was dubbed "investing" and in which government would save the middle class by regulating and taxing it out of existence for the greater good of the officially oppressed.

Hillary Clinton promised free college and cradle to grave education that would be debt free. Americans would be the ones plummeting deeper and deeper into debt to pay for degrees in gender studies. She promised viewers pie in the sky to be paid for by higher taxes on the rich. But as Trump pointed out, that's the class that her donors come from. Did Warren Buffett and George Soros invest all that money into her victory just to pay higher taxes? Did they do it right after they bought the Brooklyn Bridge?

Or will Americans buy the bridge believing Hillary's promise that she "will not add a penny to the debt"?

The only way Hillary can hope to do that is to appoint Bernie Madoff to be her Treasury Secretary.

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wrangled over tax hikes or tax cuts, the debate is whether crooks like the Clintons should have a massive pot of taxpayer money to "invest" into their donors.

But beneath it is the same big question; do we live under the Constitution or under the Hillary?

In Hillary Country, just like in Obama Country, there are always more "investments" to make and you had better pay your "fair share". There are always special identity group interests that need money. There are always more regulations, taxes, fines and fees. And it's all for the children.

The ones that Hillary will grimace at when the cameras are on her and nudge away with the point of her shoe when the little red light turns off.

But there is no lie that Hillary Clinton will not tell and no lie that her pet media fact checkers will not back her up on. Obama doubled the national debt and yet Hillary insists that, "We're actually on the path to eliminating the national debt". That might be true only insofar as we're approaching the point that no one will lend us any money. We're headed toward a $20 trillion national debt.

And Hillary's plans won't add a penny to the national debt. They'll add hundreds of trillions of pennies.

Hillary talked of bringing "our country together" and not "pitting of people one against the other" and instead "we celebrate our diversity". If she does half as good a job as Obama, these celebrations of diversity will climax with race riots across America. How exactly does Hillary plan to unite with the "deplorables" of the country? How has Hillary united anyone in the country except in disdain?

Hillary Clinton's entire campaign pitch is based on demonizing Trump and his supporters. She believes that if she convinces enough voters that Trump is the devil, they may hold their noses and accept the return of the corrupt Clinton dynasty and everything that it represents. That gamble is what we are seeing on the news. It is what we heard at the debate. Hillary cannot win on her own merits.

She warned at the final debate of the "dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system". It's hard to imagine a bigger source of dark, accountable money than a foundation being used as an international slush fund that has been beyond unaccountable.

But it's Hillary's vision of government that is dark and unaccountable. From the beginning of the debate, she made it clear that she does not wish to be accountable to the Constitution. Her email cover up made it painfully clear that she does not want to be accountable to the American people. Instead Hillary would like everyone in the country to be accountable to her. A mass of regulations and enforcers will force everyone to be accountable to the dark and unaccountable force in the White House.

"It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have," Hillary repeated.

It does indeed. Americans have had a preview of the kind of country that Hillary would bring into being.



Corruption and Collusion

Modern journalists have little in common with those I was privileged to know when I was a copyboy at NBC News in Washington in the ‘60s.

Today’s “journalists” will disagree, but as numerous surveys have shown, the public trust in what is collectively called the media has sunk to an all-time low. Only the media think they don’t have to change and can continue to sell a product more and more people refuse to buy.

WikiLeaks dumps of Clinton campaign emails with reporters should contain enough proof for any reasonable person that big media is in the tank for her.

In what may be unprecedented, The New York Times allowed Hillary to edit her own quotes.

John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC, showered praise on Hillary in emails to her campaign chief John Podesta.

Clinton staffers discussed which emails to release and which to delete. She has claimed the deleted emails were personal, not work related.

A Chapman University survey has found the top fear of American voters is corruption in government. If true, why do so many intend to vote for Hillary, perhaps the most corrupt politician ever to seek the presidency?

The WikiLeaks documents also expose Hillary’s private vs. public contradictory statements on several subjects.

The Washington Examiner reports these include transcripts of paid speeches she has tried to keep secret. Three years ago, Hillary told an audience at a luncheon for the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago Vanguard that the flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan had put Jordan’s security at risk.

About the thousands of Syrians pouring into Jordan, she said, “…they can’t possibly vet all those refugees so they don’t know if, you know, jihadists are coming in along with legitimate refugees.”

She wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees entering the U.S. by many times the current rate. If they pose a security threat to Jordan, why wouldn’t they pose a threat to America? Even FBI director James Comey says he can’t guarantee proper vetting for so many refugees and other immigrants, many of whom lack the most rudimentary forms of identification and verifiable work history.

During the second presidential debate, Hillary expressed support for a no-fly zone over parts of Syria to help stem the humanitarian crisis. But, in a paid speech for Goldman Sachs in June 2013, she indicated she was skeptical about whether such a strategy would work.

“To have a no-fly zone,” she said then, “you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas, so our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians. So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”

There is much more, including private praise for Wall Street and big banks that paid her six figures for speeches with little content, but public criticism and promises to exert more government control over them if she is elected.

In a West Palm Beach, Florida, speech last Thursday, Donald Trump honed his attack against the media, the establishment and the Clintons: “The establishment and their media neighbors wield control over this nation. … Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, rapist, xenophobe, and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family … (and) your reputation. They will lie (and) do whatever is necessary.

"The Clintons are criminals … and the establishment that protects them has engaged in a massive cover-up of widespread criminal activity at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation in order to keep the Clintons in power. Never in history have we seen such a cover-up as this.”




A new undercover investigation by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has revealed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC coordinated with liberal organizations to use a tactic called “bird-dogging” to purposely incite violence at Donald Trump rallies:

In the video, Democratic activists Robert Creamer and Scott Foval reveal their strategy to create a sense of “anarchy” in and around Donald Trump events over the course of the campaign. Foval tells an undercover operative: “One of the things we do is we stage very authentic grassroots protests right in their faces at their own events. Like, we infiltrate.”

“So the term bird dogging: You put people in the line, at the front which means that they have to get there at six in the morning because they have to get in front at the rally, so that when Trump comes down the rope line, they’re the ones asking him the question in front of the reporter, because they’re pre-placed there,” explains Foval. “To funnel that kind of operation, you have to start back with people two weeks ahead of time and train them how to ask questions. You have to train them to bird dog.”

And what kind of people are they training to carry out this infiltration? The elderly and mentally ill:

One event specifically mentioned by the Democratic operatives to have been ‘bird-dogged’ was the September incident in North Carolina where a 69-year-old woman was supposedly assaulted by a Trump supporter. In reality, the woman was “trained” by Foval as part of his operation. “She was one of our activists,” he says.

“I’m saying we have mentally ill people, that we pay to do shit, make no mistake,” says Foval in the video. “Over the last twenty years, I’ve paid off a few homeless guys to do some crazy stuff, and I’ve also taken them for dinner, and I’ve also made sure they had a hotel, and a shower. And I put them in a program. Like I’ve done that.

But the reality is, a lot of people especially our union guys. A lot of our union guys…they’ll do whatever you want. They’re rock and roll. When I need to get something done in Arkansas, the first guy I call is the head of the AFL-CIO down there, because he will say, ‘What do you need?’ And I will say, I need a guy who will do this, this and this. And they find that guy. And that guy will be like, Hell yeah, let’s do it.”

“It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherfucker,” Foval also said.

Foval also says in the video that Republicans have a certain “level of adherence to rules” that keeps them from resorting to such filthy tactics. But liberals aren’t above it at all.

Oh — he also says Clinton absolutely knows this is happening



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Left and the Masses

The greatest moral claim of the political left is that they are for the masses in general and the poor in particular. That is also their greatest fraud. It even fools many leftists themselves.

One of the most recent efforts of the left is the spread of laws and policies that forbid employers from asking job applicants whether they have been arrested or imprisoned. This is said to be to help ex-cons get a job after they have served their time, and ex-cons are often either poor or black, or both.

First of all, many of the left’s policies to help blacks are disproportionately aimed at helping those blacks who have done the wrong thing — and whose victims are disproportionately those blacks who have been trying to do the right thing. In the case of this ban on asking job applicants whether they have criminal backgrounds, the only criterion seems to be whether it sounds good or makes the left feel good about themselves.

Hard evidence as to what actual consequences to expect beforehand, or hard evidence as to its actual consequences afterwards, seems to have had very little role in this political crusade.

An empirical study some years ago examined the hiring practices of companies that did a background check on all the employees they hired. It found that such companies hired more blacks than companies which did not follow that unusual practice.

Why? This goes back to decision-making by human beings in general, with many kinds of decisions in general. Since we seldom have all the facts, we are often forced to rely on generalizing when making our decisions.

Many employers, aware of higher rates of imprisonment among blacks, are less likely to hire blacks whose individual backgrounds are unknown to them. But those particular employers who investigate everyone’s background before hiring them do not have to rely on such generalizations.

The fact that these latter kinds of employers hired more blacks suggests that racial animosity is not the key factor, since blacks are still blacks, whether they have a criminal past or not. But the political left is so heavily invested in blaming racism that mere facts are unlikely to change their minds.

Just as those on the left were not moved by hard evidence before they promoted laws and policies that forbad employers to ask about job applicants' criminal records, so they have remained unmoved by more recent studies showing that the hiring of blacks has been reduced in the wake of such laws and policies.

Moreover, the left is so invested in the idea that they are helping the disadvantaged that they seldom bother to check the actual consequences of what they are doing, whether that is something as specific as banning questions about criminal behavior or something as general as promoting the welfare state.

In the vision of the left, the welfare state is supposed to be a step forward, in the direction of “social justice.” Tons of painful evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, that the welfare state has in fact been a step backward toward barbarism — among low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States — does not make a dent in the beliefs of the left.

The left’s infatuation with minimum wage laws has likewise been impervious to factual evidence that the spread and escalation of minimum wages have been followed by far higher rates of unemployment among young blacks, to levels some multiple of what they were before — and to a racial gap in unemployment among the young that is likewise some multiple of what it was before.

Those who doubt this need only turn to the data on page 42 of “Race and Economics” by Walter Williams, or to the diagram on page 98 of “The Unheavenly City,” written by Edward Banfield back in 1968. The facts have been available for a long time.

Surely the intelligentsia of the left have access to empirical evidence and the wit to understand such evidence. But the real question is whether they have the stomach to face the prospect that their crusades have hurt the very people they claim to be helping.

Examining hard evidence would mean gambling a whole vision of the world — and of their own role in that world — on a single throw of the dice, which is what looking at hard evidence amounts to. The path of least resistance is to continue going through life feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.



Trump the Statesman

Could Donald Trump help lead the nation back to constitutional government? Or is he the uneducated, boorish, ego-maniacal boob that his critics say he is?

I start with Trump’s courage, unquestionably a virtue of the statesman. In his 1978 Harvard speech, Alexander Solzhenitsyn accused the leaders of the Western world of a lack of civic courage. They were unwilling, he said, to stand up to their enemies. Trump has shown civic courage again and again. He alone among prominent politicians is willing to name the actual source of terrorist violence against Americans (Muslim immigrants) and propose sensible policies to stop that source (restrictions on immigration from countries associated with Muslim terrorism). Trump alone is willing to tell the truth about the collapse of the rule of law in cities with large black populations—namely, lack of adequate enforcement of laws punishing crimes against person and property.

Trump shows personal courage as well. I don’t know of a single American statesman in the past century, unless it’s Reagan, who could have stood up to the nonstop stream of vitriol, hatred, ostracism, accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, you name it, that Trump has been showered with over the past 15 months. What a man!

Prudence is another virtue of statesmanship. Who has been more prudent than Trump in pursuing the presidency? With the entire Republican establishment united against him, he made statements that were criticized again and again as imprudent. Yet Trump kept getting stronger. He is within a few points of Hillary Clinton, and sometimes ahead, in the polls. He has been criticized endlessly for his supposed gaffes, every one of which was expected to finally end his quest for the presidency. But what were most of these “gaffes” but telling the truth again and again about the important questions facing America—about the obvious bias of Judge Gonzalo Curiel; about the crime many illegal immigrants import; about the danger of Islamic immigration; about the shameful failure to provide law enforcement in black areas; and about the massive bipartisan failures in foreign policy over the past 25 years.

Prudence is about winning, but above all it is about winning on behalf of the right goals. What is the purpose of government in the American Founding? Answer: government is instituted “for the security and protection of the community as such, and to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights” (Pennsylvania Constitution, 1776). Government’s job is to protect citizens—all citizens, not just women and minorities—against harm from fellow citizens and from abroad. It is about the common good of all Americans. What candidate since Reagan has understood this better than Trump?

Trump says we need to restrict Muslim immigration because it is dangerous to the life and property of Americans. He says we need to enforce criminal law because blacks aren’t getting the protection they deserve. He says we need a right to bear arms for self-protection. He says we need Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, a constitutional originalist. He says “a nation without borders is not a nation at all. We must have a wall. The rule of law matters.” He wants an immigration policy that protects Americans from terrorist acts and benefits American workers. All of this is exactly in line with the founders’ approach.

And yet it is widely believed that Trump is ignorant of the purpose of the Constitution and the idea of justice in the founding! He doesn’t need lectures on natural rights from absurd parodies of statesmanship like Paul Ryan and Ben Sasse. He gets it without knowing anything about these increasingly empty natural rights slogans, which, as any thoughtful observer must admit, are no longer understood in their original sense. Obama and Hillary Clinton love to praise natural rights. Yet they have no idea of what they are and how government secures them.

Is Trump’s trade policy prudent? He believes that the purpose of trade policy is to protect and benefit Americans. The first substantive law ever passed by Congress says taxes on imports are “necessary for … the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” In other words, trade rules must serve the good of national prosperity and national defense. How can a country defend itself in a future war if its trade policy leads to outsourcing of steel production and widespread unemployment of both skilled and unskilled American workers?

After the War of 1812 had demonstrated the need for America to be economically independent of Europe, Jefferson abandoned his earlier utopian dream of America as a nation of farmers. He now became a strong advocate of manufacturing: “He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture, must be for reducing us either to dependence on . . . foreign nations, or to be clothed in skins, and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of these; experience has taught me that manufactures are now as necessary to our independence as to our comfort.”

Why is Trump the only prominent politician since Reagan to understand that obvious political truth? The Founders got it, but Trump is routinely denounced for his failure to embrace “free” trade.

What is the purpose of foreign policy? Is it to save the world and the environment, to promote gay rights and feminism, as Obama and Hillary Clinton believe? No. In the Constitution, foreign policy is supposed to “secure the blessings of liberty for OURSELVES and our posterity.” Nothing else! What politician since Reagan understands that besides Trump? Why should our troops be stationed in 150 countries around the world? The Cold War is over. Trump proposes to restore the kind of foreign policy recommended by John Quincy Adams, who warned against roaming around the world “in search of monsters to destroy.”

If Trump could return America to a sane foreign policy operating within the natural rights parameters of the founders, it would be a victory of moderation and justice over the destructive arrogance of American power that has unleashed so much misery on the world since 1989. Those, too, are virtues of statesmanship.

The Clintons, together with the Bushes and Obama, have had a death grip on the presidency since 1989. On October 9, for the first time ever, the full depths of the evil, corrupt, greedy, and criminal Clinton “marriage” were exposed to the public. In front of the whole nation, with Bill Clinton’s rape victims in the audience, the Clintons were subjected to the public humiliation they have so long richly deserved but which no other Republican has ever had the courage to visit on them.

And yet scores of Republican and “conservative” leaders become frantic over 11-year-old  private conversation.. Did Plutarch agonize about whether his heroes cheated on their wives or made boastful remarks about the women they had bedded or wished to bed? Was Hamilton’s reputation forever destroyed when his tawdry adulterous affair with another man’s wife was discovered? No. His picture continues to grace the $10 bill and his legacy is celebrated on Broadway.

Liberals have flooded our culture with porn, obscenity, trashiness everywhere you look, and millions of female readers of Fifty Shades of Grey have fantasized about being treated cruelly by a powerful male lover. During Clinton’s presidency in the 90s, we were lectured about the need to follow the example of France and get over our Puritanical preoccupation with sex. But when Trump says a few crude and boastful words, establishment adults everywhere are faux-fainting in dismay.

There really is a bipartisan ruling class. Angelo Codevilla and John Marini are right. Trump is the only man since Reagan to challenge it. Conservatism Inc., which is part of that ruling class (they get the scraps from the table after their betters finish dining), therefore turns its back on him, gleefully pointing and sputtering “I told you so” over every Trump comment or action that hints of racism, sexism, or homophobia. These “conservatives” are in effect working night and day for a Hillary victory. Good job, conservatives!

Trump has shown throughout his career that he knows how to get things done. He does it by working with competent subordinates who have the appropriate expert knowledge in their respective fields. He is good at hiring, and he is good at firing. Has a single presidential candidate since 1987 had that kind of success in their pre-presidential past? And yet many say Trump is unprepared for the presidency, and Hillary is ready to go—a woman who has failed at everything she has put her hand to, except to get promoted to ever higher offices and get rich by corruption and crime. What delusion!

I don’t know why conservatives are unable to grasp these simple truths. It can’t be only self-interest. I’ll fall back on Nietzsche’s explanation, because I have nothing better: in all modern politics, one hears “a hoarse, groaning, genuine note of self-contempt. It is part of that darkening and uglification of [the West] which has now been going on for a hundred years…. The man of ‘modern ideas,’ that proud ape, is immoderately dissatisfied with himself: that is certain.”

Thus the instinctive revulsion of every “respectable” person in America at the specter of Trump as president. One wonders whether it is animated by a hatred of life itself. As Nietzsche also says, “man would rather will nothingness than not will at all,” and man cannot bring himself to will if he thinks there is nothing higher, purer, and nobler to aspire to. Trump wants America to live, not die.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Health update

It looks like I am recovering steadily with the use of clindamycin.  Some skin areas that were red have now faded to pale pink.   The main remaining problem is that I am still spending lots of time asleep.  I am guessing that my body makes me drowsy to help fight off any sepsis.  I have always had naps during daylight hours but my naps at the moment are up to four hours long. I can't do much blogging in such circumstances but you can't keep a good blogger down completely so I have just put up one thing new:  A recipe for an unusual salad!  See here

Hopefully I will have more to say tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2016

NOTE:  Once again my normal posting time has come, only to find me still under the influence of both health and cable problems.  The cable problems seem by now to have been banished but too late for me to read much. There is a fair chance that I might be back in normal action by this time tomorrow.

My health problem is a post operative infection in the wound site -- most probably golden staph.  I am on 300 mg of clindamycin 6 hourly so that should help. I can control the pain with di-gesic pretty well but I have to be cautious about sepsis so my next recourse may have to be a vancomycin drip.

Either the infection or the remedies seem to be making me very drowsy so I sleep for long periods, which is probably a good thing on the whole.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The arrogance of anger

The Left are chronically angry.  There is always something in the world that is not right and must be changed IMMEDIATELY if possible. Each Leftist probably has his own little wellspring of  anger and some may be dispositionally angry: Nothing may suit him.  He is in a permanent state of upset and disquiet.  The things that Leftists usually say they are angry about --  inequality, racism etc. -- are probably just convenient hooks to hang his expressions of anger on but there always seems to be some real, genuine anger motivating him. Often it is just that  he is not getting the recognition and praise that he thinks he deserves.

And that anger explains many things about the Leftist. It explains his impetuosity for starters. "Pass a law" is his recipe for fixing everything.  Finding the source of the problem he identifies and devising solutions that might work given time are alien ideas to him. The slow build that leads to permanent structures and systems is not for him.

The anger also explains the arrogance of Leftists and their pretence to elitism. Anger never considers that it might be in the wrong.  It always feels itself to be in the right.  It has no self-doubt. If Leftists really were an intellectual elite there might be some reason to regard them as wise governors but any ability they do have is nullified by their anger and urgency to change no matter what.  And that is why Leftist policies always have unfortunate side effects.  They may confer some benefit but also do a lot of harm.

The "Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare) is a classic example of that.  For the great majority of Americans it has made health insurance LESS affordable.  It was just not well thought out because it had to be enacted URGENTLY.

And for most Leftists, no parade of facts and logic will wean him off his poorly-considered beliefs.  The habitual anger of the Leftist is hard to give up, because wanting to feel/be right is part of human nature.  From the basic physical survival drive, through to intellectual and moral issues we like to be right.

That confidence in one's own rightness is however thoroughly deplorable in the Christian tradition.  As it says in  Luke 18:

"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I like that scripture and believe that it forms part of my personal values.  The Pharisees there are directly analogous to the modern-day Left, who think that they know it all and are confident in their own righteousness.  So it is no wonder that Leftists hate Christianity.  Christ condemned them.  Leftists much prefer the arrogant religion of Mohammed.


One way to reduce regulations? Give states the power to reject them

The current session of Congress, much like the ones that preceded it, has been filled with gridlock, recycled policy debates and little progress on the challenges facing our nation.

But on the day the House adjourned until November, a ray of hope emerged: A resolution to combat the regulatory state and revive federalism was introduced. There may be hope after all for the republic.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced H.J. Res. 100 on Sept. 28. This simple and elegant resolution would amend the Constitution "to give States the authority to repeal a Federal rule or regulation when ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the several States." The states could repeal "any Presidential Executive order, rule, regulation, other regulatory action, or administrative ruling issued by a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States."

The amendment would help redress the massive power grab by the federal government at the expense of the states that has continued nearly unabated since the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. This trend is contrary to the notions of our constitutional republic. As James Madison wrote in Federalist Number 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

This balance has been turned on its head primarily by the rise of the regulatory state and federal rule-making. This regime involves Congress handing over authority to bureaucrats to issue regulations and rules that impact nearly every area of our lives, from education and transportation, to the financial sector and the environment.

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute has explained, regulations cost our economy $1.885 trillion in 2015, and the cost of complying with regulations is higher than what the IRS will likely take in from individual and corporate taxes in 2015. About the only way citizens can impact the regulatory state is through the notice and comment period, when they can object to or support proposed regulations before they become law.

The regulatory state has spawned a bureaucratic bouillabaisse of rules: major rules, significant rules, economically significant rules, rules issued under good cause, interim final rules and direct final rules. Consequently, a body of law has developed around the regulatory state: the Administrative Procedure Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and the Congressional Review Act. Some of these laws have attempted to gain control of the leviathan that the regulatory state was destined to become.

But the flood of regulations continues.

Enter Bishop's resolution. H.J. Res. 100 would give state legislatures —legislative institutions that are very close to the people — the ability to repeal regulations that, in their view, are harmful or burdensome. Citizens of states will be able to lobby their state representatives more easily than lobbying Congress. That will in turn allow states to claw back their powers by undoing regulatory actions that undermine their authority and the economy.

When Washington gets too big and bullies the states, the constitutional amendment proposed by H.J.Res. 100 would be a resource the states can utilize to check a federal government that is more zealous about promoting the regulatory state, executive orders and administrative rulings, than the guarantee of the 10th Amendment.

A recent article in The Washington Post highlighted a study by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg about bureaucrats in Washington. The article explained that:        

For their part, the bureaucrats are aware that they're not average Americans. In fact, respondents to the survey tended to overestimate the distance between their own opinions and those of the general public. More often than not, they misjudged how the public felt about federal spending on various programs, such as education or social security or defense.

Bachner and Ginsberg call this phenomenon the fallacy of "false uniqueness." They interpret it as a sign that many public servants have internalized a sense of superiority. Perhaps, as they write, "officials and policy community members simply cannot imagine that average citizens would have the information or intellectual capacity needed to see the world as it is seen from the exalted heights of official Washington."

These bureaucrats and their views are the inevitable outcome of a federal government that prioritizes bureaucratic fiefdoms at the expense of states and makes rolling back regulations about as onerous as possible. H.J. Res. 100 would redress the grievances of citizens who know that their federal government has assumed a degree of control over the states that is forbidden by the Constitution.

Amending the Constitution should be done deliberately, thoughtfully, and for the most important of reasons. H.J.Res. 100 satisfies these requirements and then some. Its debate and passage by Congress and two-thirds of the states will go a long way to help restore the balance between the people and those who govern on their behalf.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would -- JR


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Democratic party has abandoned the working class

If it ever really stood for them

DRY FORK, W. Va. THIS ROCK-HARD, remote mountain redoubt, where generations of the brawny and the brave stripped the forests for timber and traveled deep into mines for coal, used to constitute an impregnable Democratic fortress. For 14 of the 17 elections since Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed his New Deal, Democrats won easy victories in presidential elections in this state.

But with the new century, a new political reality has unfolded here, perhaps best viewed as a tale of two governors from faraway Massachusetts.

Michael S. Dukakis, the Democrats’ 1988 presidential nominee, won the state by 5 percentage points. Mitt Romney — the Republicans’ presidential nominee 24 years later and a figure with no plausible personal or cultural affinity with voters here — won all 55 counties in the state in the last election, taking West Virginia’s five electoral votes by a landslide 27 percentage points.

Yet the GOP has swept the state the past four presidential elections, and Hillary Clinton’s prospects are so dim that she probably won’t bother to campaign here. Even as Donald Trump’s national poll numbers cratered after a disastrous first debate and the leak of an explosive video, the Republican nominee’s grip on West Virginia appeared firm.

"I never worried about West Virginia," said Dukakis. "It is working-class America, but now we’ve just kind of basically said: Well, it’s a red state."

American political parties are always in transition. This year, Trump has revealed deep cracks in the traditional Republican coalition and gone to war with party leaders. Yet while the Democrats are more united behind their 2016 nominee, they’re arguably more divided over their party’s vision and future. And if Trump self-destructs and delivers the White House to them, Democrats should contain their glee, because their victory will have only delayed their day of reckoning.

The Democratic Party’s core identity, far predating its embrace of various civil rights movements, is as the defender of rank-and-file workers. Yet today’s Democrats are caught in a political scissors: the emergence of a new professional class that is progressive on social issues but, according to Michael Haselswerdt, a political scientist at Canisius College in Buffalo, “Their progressivism is moving them away from working-class voters, and the weakness of the labor movement is only accelerating that."

For politicians and campaign operatives who for a generation or more have been working for the Democrats — or against them — the party’s growing dependence on the prosperous and well-educated is disorienting.

"This is a very different Democratic Party than the one we ran against in the 1980s," said Sig Rogich, the Las Vegas publicist who created advertisements both for George H.W. Bush and for Ronald Reagan, including the iconic "Morning in America" spot.

Are the Democrats the party of working people anymore or is their future with college-educated professionals? Can a party whose 2016 nominee raised money at fund-raisers for the wealthy this summer at the rate of $150,000 an hour lay claim to being the protector of labor and its dwindling union workforce? Can the Democrats marry their identity as the party of government with the "outsider" profile that voters seem to embrace with such fervor? Does a party that draws its strength from the richest and the poorest places in America have any logical rationale? Is a party of working women, minorities, and university liberals poised for a bright future — or an electoral disaster?

These questions, and more, bedevil a party that is completing two terms in the White House but that is in the minority in both houses on Capitol Hill, holds barely a third of the nation’s governor’s chairs, and can’t seem to get its less upscale, or its younger, voters to turn out for nonpresidential elections. Hence this question, perhaps the most devastating one of all: Have the Democrats replaced the Republicans as the party of the social, cultural, and economic elite?

"I’ve been in groups of workers, who used to be so closely aligned with the Democrats, where I’m more welcome than a Democrat would be," said Senator Rob Portman, a Republican running for reelection in the swing state of Ohio. "The Democrats have become a little more elitist, less in touch with the life experiences of middle-class Americans, and more attuned to the college-educated, urban-dwelling segment."

Portman is hardly impartial. But is he wrong?

NOT SINCE THE party’s serial White House losses in the 1980s have the Democrats been engaged in such a searing, searching examination of their prospects and identity. For followers of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, it’s obvious which way the party should go. "It is very clear that not only is the Democratic Party moving in a more progressive position, the American people are," Sanders said in an interview. His insurgent candidacy bedeviled Clinton all winter and spring, nudging the eventual nominee to the left. "Simply having a megaphone — talking to almost a million and a half people — gave the public a different perspective," Sanders added, "and they said, ‘I think this guy is right.’ Political leaders started listening."

He has a point. Now hardly any mainstream politicians besides President Obama are outspoken proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that had the strong support of, among many others, Clinton herself. A year ago, Democrats were talking about raising the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, to $10.10 an hour; now the conversation almost invariably speaks of a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

"More and more politicians — Democrats and some Republicans — are realizing that we cannot sustain the income and wealth gap," Sanders said in the interview. "I think our campaign had an impact on the country."

The debate about the future of the party has been kept out of public view as party leaders rallied around Hillary Clinton to fight off the Sanders rebellion and has been dampened down by the urgency of defeating Trump. But it is simmering below the surface and surely will emerge into public view, when the party confronts how progressive a freshly elected administration Clinton is assembling might be — or when the party asks how it can recover from a defeat at the hands of a force like Trump.

Many Democrats — not only the legions who rallied behind the Sanders banner but others as well — believe their heritage as sentinels of workers’ interests is at risk.

"I thought we could pull the party back into the model that was the basis of the party since Andrew Jackson: You take care of working people," said former senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who ran a brief presidential campaign earlier this year. "But it’s gone the other way. White working people outside of unions think the Democratic Party doesn’t like them."

If some Democrats look back longingly to Jackson, or at least to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, others point out how Bill Clinton modernized the party in 1992 by tugging it to the center and redeeming its hopes after losing five of the six elections between 1968 and 1988.

Will Marshall, president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, which was created in the wake of the Dukakis defeat, points to how much stronger right-wing populism is than left-wing populism — the Tea Party versus, say, Occupy. He believes the party’s emphasis should be on college-educated suburban moderates. "The swing voters who hold the balance of power in key battleground states aren’t particularly angry and don’t see the economy as rigged against them," he said. "They give priority to growth over fairness and are more inclined to help US businesses succeed than to punish them."

In this version of the story, moving beyond traditional constituencies such as organized labor freed the Democrats from impulses that kept them from sculpting a modern liberalism. As a result, according to this thinking, they have relinquished the support of generations-old Democratic families in pursuit of support from college-educated suburban whites, as well as racial and ethnic minorities — growing demographic groups that, polls show, are relatively confident that the future will be brighter.

By this logic, the party is on the precipice of a promising new start, liberated from its past and poised to prevail in large measure because it lost the struggle to retain places like West Virginia.

"For years, we were in the fight for the guy in the truck with a gun rack," said James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist. "We lost those guys, by a rate of 80 to 20. Dukakis carried them, Hillary won’t. The best thing that happened to us is that we lost that war."

YET WITHIN THE party, there’s considerable resistance to this view. It is inconceivable that, say, after Lyndon B. Johnson’s reelection in 1964 a high-profile group of Democrats would make demands and assemble lists of acceptable administration appointees such as the one Senator Elizabeth Warren and her allies developed late last month. In remarks at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Massachusetts Democrat belittled the customary Washington appointees who speak of progressive policies "coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and the twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door, serving government and then going back to the very same industries they regulate."

The Warren viewpoint — plus her twin convictions that federal regulators should aggressively protect consumers and that Washington’s ties with Wall Street are too close — were among the main currents that ran through the Bernie Sanders campaign, and they have special appeal to the younger voters who, early this autumn, the Clinton camp determined were essential if she is to win the White House.

That conclusion spawned a remarkable recent offensive, including a candidate op-ed, the mobilization of surrogates such as Sanders himself, and an appearance at a climate-change event with former vice president Al Gore Tuesday, all aimed at younger voters, a demographic group that doesn’t customarily vote as often as its elders — and that has shown a persistent reluctance to see Clinton as an ally or even as an appealing choice. According to transcripts released this month by WikiLeaks, Clinton praised global trade at events sponsored by Wall Street institutions. Those comments seem unremarkable to a well-heeled Democratic donor class. But for the young progressives on whom the party depends to knock on doors every other November, they’re a betrayal.

"Bernie’s candidacy demonstrated that the energy in the Democratic Party is around a very progressive agenda," argues Tad Devine, who spent a lifetime in conventional Democratic politics before leading the Sanders campaign. "The party right now is powered in large part by young people, minorities, and women, particularly single women. These people want a very progressive set of policies."

Even the most establishment-oriented Democrats agree. "Now we have a more ‘left’ Democratic Party — more diverse, watching government in action after so much inaction," said William Daley, son and brother of important Chicago mayors and the former campaign manager for the Al Gore.

That is precisely the Democratic Party that regular Republicans see as their emerging opponents, though the contours and the inclinations of the post-Trump GOP are impossible to predict, except to say that they will be different if Trump wins.

"Today’s Democrats don’t want change around the edges," said Frank I. Luntz, a top GOP strategist who is sitting out this year’s election. "They’re much closer to the democratic socialists of Europe. Bernie Sanders is to the left of [former British prime minister] Tony Blair. He may have lost the election, but he won the platform, and you now hear much more about higher taxes and free stuff and more regulation."

Part of the Democrats’ problem is its identification with Washington activism in an era when Washington is in disrepute. "The degraded political culture we have hasn’t helped the Democrats," said Ira Shapiro, author of the 2012 book "The Last Great Senate," which celebrates the achievements of the last generation of Senate lawmakers, many of them prominent Democrats. "But it is especially difficult for Democrats because they believe in government."

The Democrats are at odds with liberals who think they have watered down their commitment to progressive policies and drifted out of touch with their traditional constituencies. At the same time, they are at odds with conservatives who regard them as so liberal — and, inevitably, so beguiled by what they deride as "politically correct" views — that they are out of touch with mainstream Americans.

Listen to Patrick J. Buchanan, an aide to both Nixon and Reagan and a two-time presidential candidate: "The McGovernization of the party that began in 1968 — that social, cultural viewpoint — became rooted deeply into the Democratic Party. Clinton brought it back to the center in 1992, but the center of gravity in the party now has moved to the left."

Now listen to Todd Gitlin, a former Students for a Democratic Society president who now is a Columbia University sociologist: "If the Democratic Party in [my student days] had the profile it has today I would have looked askance at it. I would have thought that it was not a bridge to the future. The Trump people have a right to say they have been betrayed. Nobody has given a [expletive] about them in the Democratic Party."

Either way, today’s Democrats have changed perhaps as much or more than the Republicans since the 1970s. "The party has been taken over by professionals," said Gitlin. "The startling thing is that the Democrats are hardly competing for the people that Trump is claiming."

Even with all these tensions swirling around the party, hardly anyone thinks the Democrats are on the verge of political oblivion, in part because the Republicans are in upheaval as well — and may have made a dangerous demographic bet.

Writing in the journal of the American Academy of Political and Social Science this fall, the political scientists Gary C. Jacobson of the University of California San Diego, argued that among younger Americans the Democrats have a distinct edge.

"Not many people in a generation that is ethnically diverse and comfortable with diversity, worried about a warming planet, supportive of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, sympathetic to undocumented immigrants, and historically low in religious affiliation are likely to see themselves fitting into the current Republican coalition," he wrote.

Yet even the possibility that an army of smartphone-wielding millennials will come to the Democrats’ rescue doesn’t sit well with some longtime party leaders. Two former presidential nominees worry that their party has come unmoored from its past — and are deeply troubled that Trump has claimed some of the Democrats’ natural constituents.

"We have badly neglected the work we should have been doing for blue-collar working folks, especially men," said Dukakis, who now teaches at Northeastern University. "There’s no excuse for that. These are our people. They have no business voting Republican. But you have got to take care of people and pay attention to them."

Former vice president Walter Mondale, who lost in a landslide to Reagan in 1984, agrees, and he blames the Democrats’ problems in part on the party’s infatuation with metrics and with Internet communication.

"We had an established community of Democrats, volunteers activists," Mondale said of the Democrats of the mid to late 20th century. "We communicated with each other by phone, by mail, and by meeting. We kept lists, and we organized that way. Increasingly people live their public and political lives on their devices. That’s how they do their politics. People in politics don’t have the personal contacts they once had, and that has created a gap between Democrats and the people we got into politics to serve."

Overall the emergence of a new generation of voters, new technology, and new media has transformed the political landscape, making it unrecognizable to established politicians and rendering it confusing if not alienating to millennials.

"The polarization, the lack of engagement with people with views other than yours, the crudity in politics today — all that has changed our politics," said David Demarest, who was the communications director in the George H.W. Bush White House. "And that has affected the Democrats and Republicans alike. It has cost the Republicans who still value civility, and on the Democratic side it has detracted from serious conversations they care about. All of our politics seems to be in transition."

The civil war within Trump’s Republican Party is, to be sure, getting most of the attention. But as upscale professionals and working-class voters vie for influence within each of two evenly matched parties, there’s plenty of identity crisis to go around.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about the correlates of ring finger length


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

So who are the Nazis here?

This is very reminiscent of the actions of Hitler's brownshirts in the 1930s.  Strange that no Democrat premises have been attacked!

A Republican party headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed and an adjacent building was vandalized with the words: 'Nazi Republicans leave town or else.'

One state GOP official called the attack in Hillsborough, Orange County an act of 'political terrorism', the Charlotte Observer reported.

A bottle, filled with flammable substance, was thrown into a window during the night, setting off a fire that scorched the interior of the building before the blaze burned itself out, police said.

Photos from the interior showed damaged yard signs bearing the names of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, along with other politicians.

With three weeks left until election day, Mayor Tom Stevens acknowledged the significance of the attack, saying: 'This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property.

'It willfully threatens our community’s safety, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation.'

The GOP headquarters is located in the strip mall Shops at Daniel Boone, with the graffiti left outside Balloons Above Orange a few doors down.

The owner of the balloon shop, Bennie Sparrow, was on her way to church this morning when she saw the 'hateful' message scrawled along the side of her business.

While she has 'no idea' who could be behind the attack, she believes her shop was targeted because it is a 'good billboard to aim towards the Republicans'.

She told the 'I'm not afraid to go into work tomorrow but I don't feel quite as secure as I did before. This is the world we live in.'

Police have not been able to estimate the total value of the damages, but executive director of the state's GOP, Dallas Woodhouse, said the office was 'a total loss'.

Woodhouse later issued a statement that said: 'Whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, all Americans should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy.

'Whether the bomb was meant to kill, destroy property or intimidate voters, everyone in this country should be free to express their political viewpoints without fear for their own safety.

'We will be requesting additional security at all Republican Party offices and events between now and Election Day to ensure the safety of our activists, volunteers, and supporters.'

The state's Democratic Party Chair Patsy Keever said: 'I’m appalled that this would happen, certainly we don’t need violence for any reason.

'Clearly this is outrageous that anybody would do this kind of destruction to either party’s buildings or people.'

North Carolina is considered a swing state with polls leaning towards Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Orange County, which includes the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is overwhelmingly left-leaning.

A police investigation with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is ongoing.



WikiLeaks Exposes Workings of an American 'Nomenklatura'

The nomenklatura (literally "name list") was one of the indispensable components of the former Soviet Union.  It was indeed a literal list of those—almost always devout Communist Party loyalists—who would receive the favors of the state while the proletariat, those supposed "dictators" of the new paradise, lived in squalor and waited in bread lines.

This list was so meticulously kept Stalin was known as "Comrade Filing Cabinet." You were either on it or off.  And those who fell off, for whatever causes, real or imagined, were usually headed for the Gulag. The nomenklatura kept everyone in line.

In my book—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already—I devote a chapter to the rise of a far more subtle and less overtly totalitarian American nomenklatura, one that may be more effective and enduring in the long run (and thus ultimately more threatening to democracy).

WikiLeaks, in its downloads of the "PodestaEmails," in essence confirms the existence of this American list – who is on and who is off—and reveals its workings in remarkable detail.  More downloads are on the way. But what we have already has gone a long way to demonstrating how the people of this country have been lied to and deceived for the preservation of this nomenklatura and its power. We owe Julian Assange and his cohorts a debt.

Most evident from their downloads is the unremitting, almost incestual, alliance between elites (read: Democratic Party leadership) and the press, those who are informing us of what we are supposed to think.  The myriad emails between New York Times reporter and CNBC anchor John Harwood and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta would approach the risible were they not so disturbing by implication. Presidential debate moderator Harwood, putatively a journalist, actually acts as an advisor to Podesta in them, warning the campaign manager of the dangers of a potential Ben Carson candidacy and even bragging to him about having tripped up Donald Trump at a debate.

But the presidential debate moderator is far from alone in his fealty to the ways and means of the nomenklatura. The New York Times and the Boston Globe—the emails show, as if we hadn't guessed already—colluded with the Clinton campaign.

But the level of collusion goes much deeper than press and politicians. The Department of Justice itself—the emails also reveal—was in private communication with the Clinton people during the investigation of the Hillary Clinton homebrew server, warning her campaign in advance of a State Department release of emails. Everybody was colluding!

Is anyone surprised at this, at best, legally dubious activity? Probably not at this point. But this underscores the fearlessness of the nomenklatura in transgressing the law in defense of their policy goals and positions.  Certain of their own rectitude, they can do no wrong, even if it is wrong.

They are able to do this through a profound moral narcissism that convinces them that they, not the American people, "know best." It's a home-grown version of "the ends justify the means," making the American nomenklatura an inherently totalitarian movement, although more subtle, as I note above, in its actions.

The rise of Donald Trump is in great measure a reaction to the pervasive power of this nomenklatura. But Trump, with his all-too-apparent personality flaws and shallow political knowledge, has not been, thus far, a successful opponent of these elites.  Still, he has demonstrated courage not common in political candidates and opened a door that is unlikely to close easily.  It remains for future leaders, perhaps emerging from the people themselves, to overcome this nomenklatura and help us retain or reclaim our democratic republic.



Obama, Media Go Quiet on Historic Mideast Catastrophe

While the press was focused on the Hillary-Trump debate, Iranian-backed rebels fired two missiles at the USS Mason off Yemen. The Associated Press describes the incident:

The Navy says the missile launch Sunday night landed in the water before getting near the USS Mason.

Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a Navy spokesman, said Monday it's unclear if the Mason was specifically targeted, though the missiles were fired in its direction.

The missile launches comes after an Emirati ship was targeted several days ago by missiles apparently fired by Shiite rebels in Yemen known as Houthis and their allies.

The unsuccessful strike on the Mason follows the destruction of the HSV-2 Swift, a logistics vessel operated by the UAE capable of 45 knots, by two anti-ship missiles -- probably the C-801 or C-802. The USS Mason was part of a three-ship flotilla dispatched to the area after the Swift had been gutted:

The U.S. Navy has dispatched to the strait two destroyers, the USS Mason and USS Nitze, and the USS Ponce -- the last of these a floating staging ship which includes a complement of special operations forces.

“Sending the warships to the area is a message that the primary goal of the Navy is to ensure that shipping continues unimpeded in the strait and the vicinity,” said a U.S. defense official.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is in charge of Tehran’s extraterritorial military activities, is believed to be arming the Houthis with missiles and rockets, including a variant of the Zelzal-3 artillery rocket that was unveiled in August and stationed near the Saudi border.

The war in Yemen has been steadily escalating in the shadow of headline-grabbing events in Aleppo and Mosul. Recently a Saudi air strike which killed 140 people and wounded as many as 350 more briefly seized the spotlight:

In one of the deadliest attacks of the country’s civil war, which Saudi Arabia entered in March 2015, airstrikes on Saturday hit a funeral hall packed with thousands of mourners in Yemen’s rebel-held capital, Sana’a.

The outcry forced the Obama administration to publicly distance itself from Riyadh:

The US, like the UK, supplies arms to Saudi Arabia and practical military advice, even though the precise extent of that advice is disputed.

White House national security council spokesman Ned Simon said: “We are deeply disturbed by reports of [the] airstrike on a funeral hall in Yemen, which, if confirmed, would continue the troubling series of attacks striking Yemeni civilians. US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank cheque."

It is one of several scenes of an entire drama, almost a parallel universe which exists outside the 2016 spectacle which has captured the American public's imagination. Events epochal to those whom they directly concern and important by any objective standard are foreshortened by false perspective into tiny insignificant occurrences happening long ago and far away.

The striking thing is how this administration is bequeathing a comprehensive catastrophe to the next president almost without anyone, least of all the semi-retired chief executive, paying more than cursory attention.

Even most of the provocative saber-rattling from Moscow barely makes it above the fold. Only yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of aggression without raising so much as a ripple on Twitter.

How did an administration which came to office headed by a Child of the World promising to "build bridges" with other cultures, that styled itself as brimming with "smart" foreign policy experts, finish up in an almost comical state of parochialism?

Why, rather than bestriding the globe, has it withdrawn in outlook, buttoned up like a tank, viewing the outside world only through the narrowest of slits, driving in little circles from talk show to talk show?

In his final months, President Obama's world has become paradoxically both very large yet very small: large in terms of real-world risk exposure, but small in alternatives politically open to it.

Max Fisher tries to explain the shrinkage in scope and loss of prestige in a New York Times think piece by ascribing American bewilderment to such grand historical causes as the loss of faith in its own exceptionalism arising from the trauma of George Bush's campaign in Iraq. But this smacks of self-exculpation.

The simplest explanation for the huddled final days of the administration? They have been burned, and they want no more of that unpleasant experience.

The "smartest people" on the planet found they were not quite as clever as they thought.

They should not have been surprised. Over the last decade presidential hopefuls have come from the ranks of thinkers without much experience in governance or the wider world. They knew all the answers -- in theory -- but none in practice. Individuals who spent all their adult lives learning how to raise money, craft talking points, perfect stances before the camera, fund opposition research, and recruit surrogates found that special skills did not travel so well in the wider world.

The election of 2016, by coming down to an actual choice between two candidates who no one particularly seems to want, has emphasized the unnatural limits from which political leadership is drawn. The system is not nearly so diverse as Bill Buckley's sample of "first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory" -- it is much more cramped, artificial, and parochial. The idea that a nation with a third of billion people could only come up with these two people to lead it is almost absurd.

Far from being cursed with the burden of exceptionalism, America is really weighed down by mediocrity and a lack of flexibility. It is trapped in the world because it is trapped in Washington. If there is one metaphor which might describe the commotion of 2016, it is that we are watching an attempted jailbreak.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)